Turkey time

By PROVIDENCE PHOENIX STAFF  |  November 22, 2011

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DAVID CICILLINE

Then-Providence Mayor Cicilline declared, during his Congressional campaign last fall, that the capital city was in "excellent fiscal condition."

Turns out that was a bunch of turkeyshit.

Shortly after Cicilline took office in Washington, his City Hall successor, Angel Taveras, found a $180 million deficit in the barn out back.

The Congressman never accepted responsibility. And when the Providence City Council hired respected fiscal analyst Gary Sasse to sort through the mess — producing a report critical of the Cicilline administration — the representative engaged in a truly cynical brand of politics.

He lashed out at Sasse, who had served in Republican Governor Donald Carcieri's administration, suggesting the report was mere partisan hackery; he even turned the Sasse broadside into a fundraising appeal.

Cicilline is off to a promising start in Congress. But he's still a turkey.

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DEAN ESSERMAN

Former Providence police chief Dean Esserman gets a gobble, too.

In June, Esserman was chaperoning his teenage daughter's high school graduation party when a spate of underage drinking broke out. The chief says he busted up the party as soon as he discovered the booze. But sending a bunch of buzzed teens out onto the street and, perhaps, back to their cars was probably not conduct becoming a police chief.

Before this incident, there wasn't much question about the Dartmouth-educated cop's intelligence. But Esserman seemed a little birdbrained here.

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CRANSTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Ever since Cranston High School West opened its doors in 1963, a prayer banner has hung in the auditorium calling on "Our Heavenly Father" to shepherd students and ending with an "Amen."

Squawk! Squawk!

Rhode Island may be the most Catholic state in the US of A. But it's still part of the US of A. And the Founding Turkeys were pretty clear about the government's proper role in religious matters: stay out.

So when the Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union called for removal of the banner, the Cranston School Committee had the opportunity to do the right thing.

Instead, it went turkey. In March, the panel voted 4-3 — with board members Andrea Iannazzi, Frank Lom-bardi, Paula McFarland, and Michael Traficante in favor — to retain the banner.

Now the ACLU is in court, with an atheist student — pilloried by many of her classmates — as the plaintiff in the case.

Watch over her, Father.

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